I’ve only played demos of Platinum Games’ Bayonetta and it’s sequel, and what I experienced on both was pretty awesome. So what happens when that company gets their hands on one of the biggest franchises of all time? You get Transformers: Devastation, which is the Transformers game fans have been waiting for, but there are some flaws that keep it from being perfectly prime.
There’s not much story wise, but fans will hardly care as long as they get to bust up some Decepti-chumps. Things kick off with some long-buried Cybertron tech rising up from the ground and tearing up the city. Megatron shows up not long afterwards to try and use the technology to change the Earth into another Cybertron and make himself ruler of the planet. It’s up to you to guide Optimus Prime and his team of Autobots to stop Megatron and the tech he’s using to enslave the planet…no matter the cost (sorry, I just had to type it).
The first thing you’ll notice when playing is how awesome and fluid the game looks and moves. Platinum Games did a perfect job making everything look exactly like it was pulled from the 1980’s TV show. You’ll also be happy to know it moves just as good as it looks, as everything runs at a buttery-smooth 60 frames a second (or higher depending on your PC and if you play on it). These things come in handy as you learn the ropes starting off with Optimus Prime, as you’ll quickly pick up that the gameplay is all about racking up combos by using light and heavy attacks. When you finish up a combo, a finisher button will appear that will make your character transform into their vehicle mode and ram into an enemy at high speed, making for a sick way to end the attack.
You can also transform into vehicle mode at anytime (with perfect transformation effects and sounds from the 80’s show), use a blaster for long range / aerial enemies, jump, use a dodge button at the right time to slow things down and pummel baddies, and of course use special and super moves when your meter is charged. These moves are pretty awesome and vary from each character, from Optimus transforming and smacking enemies at high speed with his trailer or punching the ground with an atomic blast, to Bumblebee being able to slide under enemies and attack from behind or throwing a lot of bombs while turning his back to the oncoming explosions and chaos.
After taking Optimus for a spin, you’ll get to play as Bumblebee, and later Sideswipe to get used to the speed and damage difference of the characters. Once you make it past the first chapter, other Autobots such as Wheeljack and Grimlock will become available for you play. There’s also plenty of weapons and items to customize your character with that you will pick up as you play. Sadly most of these items don’t help much, as they’re either weaker than what you’re using or just a little better. For those who want to go through the detailed item fusion process, they can play a mini-game to try their hand at making better weapons by combining them and pressing a button at the right time, but in the end it feels like a pointless and tacked on component to the game.
This leads me to some of my gripes, the biggest being the cheap hits littered throughout. Whether you’re fighting basic enemies, or bosses like Devastator, there seems to be a lot of cheap hits thrown around. This is especially annoying since the game is built on getting combos out, which in this case is difficult since getting attacked interrupts said combos. Sure there’s a dodge button you can hit at the right moment to avoid a hit and slow things down to get a combo in, but with the fighting being as fast and frantic as it is, most won’t get the timing down and will quickly become frustrated as they’re besieged from all sides. The camera also doesn’t do you any favors as you play, as you’re constantly fighting with it more than the enemies, leading to annoying hits and deaths. Playing as the Autobots is awesome here, but it would’ve been nice to use the Decepticons as well. The roster could’ve been a little bigger too, but I’m sure these are two problems that will be addressed with DLC soon.
At least the game looks and sounds awesome. I mentioned the graphics and frame rate earlier, but the sounds are just as sweet. The rock music played throughout is done by none other than Vince DiCola of the 1986 Transformers Movie. He teams with Kenny Meredith who helped him with the Angry Birds Transformers soundtrack, along with Satoshi Igarashi to bring about a rocking and fitting soundtrack. I was also excited that most of the original voice actors are reprising their roles, such as Frank Welker as Megatron and Soundwave, Dan Gilvezan as Bumblebee, Michael Bell as Sideswipe, and finally having Gregg Berger return as Grimlock.
If you’re a child of the 80’s or just a Transformers fan, it’s easy to be blinded by the nostalgia of Transformers: Devastation. But underneath it all, there’s a fairly solid game here with some annoying flaws that can be looked past for the most part. If you love action brawler titles and you’re looking for something to feed your fix, or just love Transformers, then you’ll want to transform and roll out for this one.